Sam Noseworthy and Nadine Kelly are the daughters of two of Memorial University’s most outstanding volleyball players, so as they begin their Sea-Hawks careers they really can’t avoid the spotlight.
Thirty years ago Joan Buck and Kathy Noseworthy led the Memorial women’s volleyball team to the Atlantic universities championship.
Kathy played on the Canadian National junior women’s team, and then with the national senior team, while Joan played for two years on Canada’s national junior team.
Their daughters are showing great potential, according to coach Bill Thistle, and look to be a big part of what the coach believes will be a turnaround in the women’s program.
The rookies also seem to have the same drive and determination that made their mothers such outstanding players.
“Sam was an all-star power hitter in high school and is making the transition to setter at the university level,” explained Thistle.
“While this is a difficult transition, Sam has a very high volleyball I.Q., and, with increased strength, confidence, and training she will become a strong university player.”
“Nadine is also making a switch from her high school position of middle hitter to outside power hitter this season,” noted Thistle. “She is a raw talent but has great potential and a bright future within the team.
“Nadine constantly demonstrates her determination and commitment to the team, even before she was selected for it. During May and June, she drove two hours, twice a week, to practice in St. John's and then back home (Old Perlican) again,” he noted.
“She even made this trip during her public exams. She is going to develop into an outstanding power hitter at the AUS level because of this dedication and her talent.
The girls said their moms are obviously proud of the fact they have made the varsity team.
“Just being willing to make this commitment with so much training and university means a lot to her,” said Kelly.
Kelly said her mom takes pride in the fact that “I feel the same way she did 30 years ago.”
“It’s great knowing that she was here (at MUN) working towards the same goals. Volleyball was always something that we shared and playing with MUN brings us that much closer.”
“I remember going to tournaments with her even when I was very young,” said Kelly. I’d chase after the balls, get water and get attention from the players. I loved it.”
Kelly is a versatile athlete who also competed in cross-country, track and field, biathlon, badminton, floor hockey at Baccalieu Collegiate and, up until Grade 9, she was also a figure skater.
The Engineering student said she’d like to to develop into a player as good as her mom was, but concedes, “It will definitely take the sort of hard work and commitment that she put in.”
Still, she added, “Hopefully, someday I might get there.”
However, Kelly said she doesn’t feel any pressure to succeed because her mom was a star player.
“I always knew that she was good and that just made me want to get better. She never really talked about her successes and most of what I know about her volleyball career I’ve learned from other people.”
Kelly simply said she’d like to grow as a player and a person with the Sea-Hawks.
“Playing with this team is something I looked forward to and worked hard for. I will continue to work hard and hopefully continue to get better.”
As far as Noseworthy is concerned, “It’s exciting for me to be carrying on the tradition.
“This whole experience,” said Noseworthy, “has definitely made my mom and I closer. If I’m going through a rough time it’s easy to talk to her because she knows exactly what I'm going through.”
Noseworthy said her mom always encouraged her to play, although she was resistant at first.
“She would get me to play in the backyard during the summer when I was younger, but I was never really interested. My mom actually had to force me to try out for the volleyball team in Grade 7. But after I made the team, I was hooked,” she said.
Noseworthy, who also played soccer and basketball in elementary school, said soccer used to be her favorite sport and she played on the provincial team for years.
“As I got older I didn't enjoy it as much, so I stopped playing and began focusing on volleyball,” she explained.
Noseworthy, who is doing a Biology degree and hopes to eventually go on to medical school, admits she feels some pressure because “my mom was so good. I feel like people may compare me to her and expect me to be just like her. That’s a bit nerve-racking,” she said.
Like her mom, Noseworthy went to Prince of Wales Collegiate High School in St. John’s and said she’d love to win a championship with MUN before she graduates.
“I think that our team has so much potential this year and I know we have the talent, drive and commitment to make it a winning season,” she said.
“I really hope that I have a lot of success at the varsity level. I played in the power position in high school, but this year I’m learning how to set,” she noted.
“I really want to excel at that and, hopefully, be one of the best setters in the league in a few years. My mom also set, so that’s exciting to be playing the same position as her.”